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Coping With Those Winter Blues

December 28, 2017

Storms, hypothermia and falls aren't the only risks older adults face in winter.  A lesser known hazard, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also strikes many as the long winter nights loom ahead.

Winter SAD appears more in those who live further from the equator where the sun is not as strong. People who haven't been diagnosed with chronic depression may exhibit symptoms of SAD which include lethargy, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, insomnia and fatigue, sadness, social withdrawal, and craving carbohydrate-rich foods.

SAD differs from chronic depression in that it only strikes when daylight hours decline during fall and winter.  Less exposure to the sun impacts our circadian rhythms and causes hormonal changes that lead to depressive symptoms.  Spending less time outside in daylight can result in vitamin D deficiency, decreased seratonin levels and interrupted sleep cycles.

Since SAD symptoms may also mimic signs of other illnesses, your first step is to see a healthcare professional to avoid overlooking a more serious ailment.  If SAD is suspected, your physician may suggest the following treatments: Supplements and a diet rich in vitamin D, increased exposure to sunlight, bright light therapy under a special high intensity lamp (used according to physician's instructions), and antidepressants

Other recommendations include limiting your alcohol intake, getting adequate rest and regular exercise.

Winter Safety Tips

December 19, 2017

The winter months are challenging for all of us and older adults can be particularly vulnerable. Here are some helpful tips to keep you functioning and safe during this unpredictable season:

Service your heating system annually to prevent breakdowns during cold winter months. Have gutters cleaned to prevent ice dams and leaks.

Line up service providers to clear the driveway and walkways of snow.

Prepare your car for winter by having the the oil, antifreeze, tires, wipers and battery checked.  Filling the gas tank prior to snow will add weight.

Be sure the entranceways and garage have working light fixtures

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and place fire extinguishers near heat sources.

Use space heaters carefully; plug directly into outlets (no extension cords!) and keep heaters three feet away from walls and furnishings.

Purchase a battery operated radio, lanterns and flashlights, with an extra supply of batteries.  NEVER use live flame candles or lanterns for lighting.

Have extra medications on hand - a seven day supply is advised.

Extra blankets and warm nightclothes are helpful if your home loses heat.

Stock up on bottled water, non-perishable food items, pet supplies, and other necessities needed during an extended loss of power.

Plan in advance for a back-up power source for medical equipment. Contact your supplier for assistance.

If you must venture outside in inclement weather, cover up in warm layers with as little skin exposed as possible.  Always wear shoes or boots with good tread or non-slip soles. Wearing slippers to fetch the mail or morning newspaper is a recipe for disaster. A warm scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs is also advised.

A little advance planning will help us all enjoy winter's beauty as we wait for the warmth of spring to arrive.

Consider Home Therapy for a Full Recovery

October 9, 2017

Contributed by Carole Clausen, Personal Trainer, Fellowship Senior Living

If you have recently been discharged from a hospital or rehabilitation center, or have received home care from a visiting nurse, you may benefit from continued private therapy services.  Therapy in Your Home, a program offered by the Fellowship Senior Living Rehab & Wellness team based at Fellowship Village, offers comprehensive therapeutic choices that enable older adults to continue the rehabilitation process conveniently and comfortably.

The Therapy in Your Home program provides individualized therapy designed specifically for your functional needs at home.  Our highly trained therapists are available to help with a home safety assessment, pain management, balance and fall prevention, swallowing difficulties, memory impairment, Parkinson’s disease, and bathing, dressing and grooming techniques. Physical, occupational, and speech therapies will speed your recovery from illness, injury or surgery.

There are many benefits to choosing Therapy in Your Home.  A relaxed home environment fosters a special relationship with your therapist and supports your rehabilitative advancement. The plan of care developed specifically to address your unique lifestyle helps you progress in becoming independent with daily activities and help you return to doing the things you enjoy.

Home therapy also encourages family members to be closely involved in your rehabilitation. If needed, therapists can give family or professional caregivers guidance and training that addresses your specific needs.  Home therapy eliminates the burden of coordinating transportation to and from a rehab center several times a week.

The Fellowship Senior Living Rehab & Wellness team also offers comprehensive outpatient rehab services at Fellowship Village.  If prescribed by a physician, outpatient rehab and home therapy may be covered under Medicare Part B. Check with your insurance carrier for complete coverage details, as plans vary. 

Call 908-580-3880 to inquire about Fellowship’s Therapy in Your Home program or outpatient rehab services at Fellowship Village.

Hydration and Dehydration

June 26, 2017

Contributed by Carole Clausen, Personal Trainer, Fellowship Senior Living

Hydration is a vital element to staying healthy.  Older adults may have a diminished sense of thirst, urinary incontinence, or take medications that impact fluid intake or fluids stored in the body. Therefore it is important for older adults to maintain adequate fluid intake.

Proper hydration supports an intricate system of keeping the fluids and electrolytes balanced in our bodies. Water is essential for maintaining this fluid balance as it helps control body temperature; assists the body in insulating itself against cold; delivers nutrients and medications to cells and carries away waste; keeps mouth, nose, eyes, and skin moist; ensures proper volume of blood; and keeps the urinary tract flushed out, thus reducing the risk of urinary tract infections.

The recommended daily fluid intake to keep your body hydrated is 48 to 64 ounces, or 6 to 8 eight ounce glasses. This may sound like a lot, but your daily hydration requirement needn't be filled entirely from the tap. Foods and beverages that contribute to your daily intake levels include milk, soup, fruit and vegetable juices, gelatin, apples, watermelon, decaffeinated soft drinks, tea, and even cooked broccoli. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol do not contribute to your daily intake.  They actually act as diuretics-contributing to water loss-and should be consumed in moderation.

The first sign of dehydration is usually thirst, which generally occurs when there is a 1 to 2% loss of body water.  At a 2-5% loss, symptoms can include dry mouth, flushed skin, headache, fatigue and impaired physical performance. A 6% loss may cause increases in body temperature, heart rate and breathing. With an 8% loss, one may experience dizziness, confusion, increased weakness and labored breathing with daily activites. A loss of 10% body water may cause muscle spasms, swollen tongue and delirium. When the loss drops to 11%, symptoms include poor circulation and failing kidney function.

Don't wait for thirst and other symptoms of dehydration to take action.  Actively prevent fluid loss by starting your morning with water or juice and carry a bottle of water wherever you go. Drink water before, during and after physical activity and take water breaks throughout the day. Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Five Ways Senior Citizen Care is Changing

May 11, 2017

Contributed by Brian Lawrence, President and CEO of Fellowship Senior Living

Elder care is evolving from an "institutional model" to a "consumer-based model" that offers a broad range of accommodations, programs and services designed to meet the individual needs of older adults. Five trends in the care and desires of seniors are:

Memory Care Support
The need for memory care support has grown significantly in recent years.  Now, two out of three people over the age of 85 experience some kind of memory loss, an issue that was rarely discussed when I began my career in elder services in 1999.  Fortunately there are now elder care communities all across the United States.  The need for specialized services is increasing rapidly as Baby Boomers age.  Those with memory loss require a safe, secure "home-like" environment with access to the outdoors, activities that stimulate language and memory, common spaces that encourage socialization, and living spaces that allow residents to maintain their privacy and dignity.

Bigger is Better
The size and functionality of accommodations are changing for the better.  While many older adults choose to downsize, they still want a warm welcoming environment that allows engagement with family, friends, and neighbors. Years ago, the hospital model was adapted by nursing homes, with three or four people sharing a room with one bathroom.  In recent years, there has been a shift from semi-private to private suites in short-term skilled rehab and to one bedroom apartments with separate living and kitchen areas, laundry facilities and walk-in closets in assisted living residences.  Long-term skilled care has also evolved; residents now have ample space for visitors or enjoying quiet time and rest in a home-like setting.

Quality and Choice
Quality and choice are the top priorities for demanding American consumers. Today, people choosing Life Plan Communities (also known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities or CCRCs) expect a variety of services and amenities-including swimming pools, fitness centers, greenhouses, theaters, and putting greens-that are convenient and easily accessible.  Equally important, they want choice; whether it's the flooring and finishes used in their homes or multiple on-site dining options.

Interest in Life Plan Communities
Almost 2,000 Life Plan Communities across the United States offer residents a vibrant, active lifestyle, and interest in this type of community is growing.  In addition to programs and activities, older adults look for communities that offer a continuum of care to meet their future needs and protect their financial assets from rising long-term health care costs.

Connecting to the World
Older adults want to feel connected to the world around them.  They seek a lifestyle focused on aspects of wellness that include physical, spiritual, vocational, intellectual, social, emotional and environmental.  Active seniors want to build connections and stay fit and engaged.  They look for residences that are welcoming to friends and family members; places that attract the broader community through programs, events and activities, from theatrical performances to lecture series to art classes.

 

For more information, call (877) 866-3480 

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